SASBE2015 brought together experts sharing knowledge and experience to create smart and sustainable built environments.

With the view to develop smart built environment solutions that address local and global sustainability issues, the SASBE2015 Conference brought together stakeholders from across the world to share ideas, instruments and applications to improve the sustainability performance of the built environment.

Hosted by CIB (International Council for Building), the CSIR and the University of Pretoria, the close to 50 presentations and three field trips illustrated how green technologies, passive design, culture and history have been integrated into built environments in various ways.

One of the highlights of the conference was Professor Wim Bakens, CIB Secretary General, from the Netherlands discussing megatrends from a European perspective, saying that by 2025, half of the world’s production for construction will take place in China. And with construction companies following the money internationally, the European Union (EU), for example, is becoming one big construction market with international clients.

He also spoke about the importance of planning for future megacities such as Shanghai, which is expecting to house 125 million people. At the same time, people are richer than they ever were and are willing to pay for whatever they think is quality. “Better make sure that sustainability is perceived as quality,” Bakens notes.

Bakens further emphasised the importance of using BIM technology to manage the whole process and says that unless professionals in the built environment learn how to use BIM, they will become irrelevant.

Professor Chrisna du Plessis from the University of Pretoria gave an inspiring presentation on what goes on beyond resilience and keeping our planet liveable, warning that we need to adapt and evolve in our thinking. She spoke about regenerative sustainability and giving back more than what is taken out through construction.

Things got practical when a United Kingdom (UK) architect, Professor Tom Woolley, discussed sustainable materials and focused on the green building possibilities of Hempcrete.

Nozonke Dumani from the CSIR continued on this trajectory, explaining the cradle-to-gate lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of concrete and rebar in South Africa, and how mixing low energy intensive materials such as fly-ash and slag can reduce the impact of pure Portland cement.

During the conference, the attendees had ample opportunity to share their knowledge and experiences regarding creating smart and sustainable built environments.

SASBE2015 was the fifth event in a series of global conferences held previously in Australia (2003), China (2006), the Netherlands (2009) and Brazil (2012).

For more information, visit